The lockdown is happening at the Nego Household. We are stocked up on supplies (minus one trip to the Asian Market for kimchi and Soju, because I'm not a martyr) and everyone is doing school/work from home. Let the cabin fever begin.
As an extrovert, I thrive on in-person interaction so I'm filling my schedule with activities that let me (virtually) interact with others in order to maintain my mental health.
So I'm going to be offering some fun things for all of us to do together. I've already posted this on my Facebook page and sent out an email a little bit ago (not on my email list? Sign up here), but I want to include everyone so here it is again.
Starting on Monday, I'm going to be reading a chapter or two online from one of my books. I am still taking suggestions for which of my books to read so you can weigh in with a comment here or shoot me an email.
But since that's a bit one-sided, I'm also going to start doing slightly more interactive query/blurb critique sessions. I'm imagining these as me on video, screen sharing a query or blurb that you all send me. I'll of course remove all your personal information so this can be mostly anonymous. Then I'll use my experience from my agency days to help us all learn to write better queries/blurbs.
So if that sounds fun to you, you can send me your query/blurb by email at: Contact@sarahnegovetich.com.
We are going to be in this for a while so I'm hoping this can help us all stay active and connected during these crazy times. If you have other ideas for activities we can do together, feel free to drop me a comment or shoot me an email.
Also, all of this is going to be taking place over on my Facebook page, so if you haven't connected with me there, take a minute to do that so you don't miss out on the fun!
See you all (virtually) soon!
A stumbling start
After finishing my latest novel at the end of last year, I gave myself the month of January to give it a thorough edit. At just over 90K words, I figured a whole month would be more than enough time to get this manuscript in shape.
I was wrong.
See, it's been a while since I've written a new book, and even longer since I started a new series. Mistakes were made.
After the first read through, I realized that my first draft is a hot mess. Now, it's not as bad as the very first novel I ever wrote (often referred to as the novel without a plot), but it's pretty bad.
The plot is there and fairly solid, but somehow I completely bungled my character motivations. The result is a solid cast of interesting characters who keep changing their minds and leaving me wondering what the hell I was doing.
So this month I'm going back to the basic. I pulled out old plotting worksheets I haven't used in years and found a new tool to help me get a better handle on these characters. I'm determined to wrangle them into shape even though that means this edit is going to take much longer than initially planned.
It sucks. Really and truly.
I thought I was past these kinds of author fails. After all, this is my 12th full length novel (if we don't count the ones without plots). I'd assumed I was better than this.
But the reality is that every author, no matter how many times they've done this, is going to come up against these kinds of blunders. This isn't the first time I have to rewrite several chapters and re-plot a book. It won't be the last. It will suck every time.
When I first started on this journey I thought that these kinds of mistakes were reserved for rookies, or even a sign that I didn't have what it takes. Now I know better and accept that setbacks are going to happen.
If this is you, don't give up. Don't quit because something isn't working. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't be too big for britches to go back to the basics and relearn a lesson you thought you already knew.
It's okay to fail in the process of writing your novel. It's even okay if that first draft is so bad you have to scrap the whole thing, set it on fire, toss it over the Niagara and start over. So long as you keep going, it's not really a fail.
And keep your eyes open, because once this book is whipped into shape I can't wait to share it with all of you.
An Agent Edit
I've been editing manuscripts long before I ever wrote my first one. I started editing for private individuals, then as an intern at the agency, and finally as an agent. I've had the privileged of editing some of my favorite stories. Then there was that one time I edited a 600 page conspiracy theory. Don't ask.
The point is, I've been editing for a long time, but I've never really hung my shingle and offered up my services. But the thing is, I really love editing. There's something magical about taking a precious story that another author has created and helping them mold it into a gleaming pearl of awesomeness. It makes me happy. And I miss it.
So, now I'm going to do what makes me happy. I'm officially offering my services for editing manuscripts. Not as a random thing I sometimes do for friends. Not as a literary agent. This time I'm doing it as an author who wants to help other authors polish their gems.
If you aren't an author, then this is kind of a non-exciting blog post. Sorry about that. I promise I will have way more exciting things for you after the new year. :)
If you are an author and you happen to be in the market for an editor, you can check out what I have to offer over on my Editing Services page. I've got my rates and services listed there for all your viewing glory.
Still with me?
If you're still reading, I have to assume you're at least moderately intrigued by the idea of having me edit your book. Congrats on making it this far. To celebrate the kick off of this new adventure, I'm offering a 15% discount to everyone who books a service with me by the end of 2019. Just mention the code KICKOFF. No, you don't have to actually have your manuscript turned in by then. Just scheduled with the deposit.
I'm now offering affordable editing services for authors and anyone who books with me by the end of the year using the code KICKOFF gets 15% off. But don't wait, because I'll only be taking on a limited number of clients until the end of the year.
Okay, not the end of me or anything dramatic. It's a good "The End". As in, typing the end on my next story.
Yeehaw! This one has seriously been a long time coming. I've been letting this story marinade in my head for almost a year now and it was finally time to let it out. Of course, that means the real work of editing and polishing it up is just getting started, but I'll save that for tomorrow.
I'm sure everyone wants to know when this book will be out, and that is a little hard to answer. Originally I scheduled this book to publish at the end of January which sounds like an eternity, but is only two months away.
If you've been following along, you know I'm currently dealing with some undisclosed legal issues with Amazon. While that doesn't necessarily stop me from publishing more books, it kinda does.
I want to give anything with my name on it all the attention it deserves, and right now I can't do that with this arbitration situation finally coming to a head. For the next two months I'm going to be hot and heavy in the midst of reviewing documents, responding to legal briefs and crossing all my fingers and toes.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The arbitration will be completely closed by the end of February regardless of how it turns out. So, hopefully I'll be able to get my new pretty out in the world by some time in March.
The silver lining here is that while it might take a little longer to get the first book out, I'm hoping I can still get more writing done over the next few months which means a shorter wait time for book two. So yeah!
Until next time, dear readers...
YA Scavenger Hunt
Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 120 hours!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are four contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GOLD TEAM--but there is also a red team, a purple team, and a blue team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!
If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GOLD TEAM, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). And make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom for a special giveaway from me just for you. :)
Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 6th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Let's meet Kristin
Today, I am hosting Kristin on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Kristin Jacques writes primarily speculative fiction for young and new adults, dabbling with dark adventures, monsters, mayhem, and the occasional sarcastic zombie.
When not at her computer spinning tales she is generally herding cats or snuggling with her gremlins.
Find out more information by checking out Kristin's website or find more about the author's book here!
Azure ‘Azzy’ Brimvine lives in a world decimated by magic, where humans have retreated underground from the overwhelming dangers of the surface. But Below is no safer than Above.
Magic borne plagues continue to eat away at the remaining human cities, a sickness that doesn’t merely kill, but creates aberrations from the stricken: people twisted by magic into something dark, dangerous, and powerful. It is an existence of fear and constant dread. When Azzy’s brother, Armin, is infected and cast out into the Above, she sets out after him, determined to be there for him no matter what he becomes.
The world Above is full of monsters, both wild and cunning, some more human than Azzy was led to believe. Armin is captured and bound for the Auction block of Avergard, a ruthless city of inhuman lords and twisted creatures. To reach him, Azzy must brave the perils of the Above and the chaotic life forms created by the Gate. To reach him, she must find allies and forge new bonds in this broken world.
And Azzy must reach him, before Armin’s new power is used to open the Gate once more.
I am so excited to be a part of #TeamGold for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
Music and inspiration aesthetics were a huge part of writing Marrow Charm. Images and songs help draw me into a mindset where I could visualize this dark, fabulous world of twisted magic and monsters. Here I am sharing a few aesthetic pieces from the Marrow Charm cast, including the Winnowrook, one of the many gruesome creatures that inhabits the Above.
Music is also a huge part of my writing process. I often attach certain songs to characters or scenes. Aside from sharing Marrow Charm’s playlist, I wanted to share what some of these songs mean specifically in terms of the story.
Run, Boy, Run- Woodkid
This got a lot of mileage on my playlist. Marrow Charm often runs at a breakneck pace. It is very much a character vs the world novel during the first leg of our protagonists’ journey. The frenetic pace of the chorus and those deep bell tones opening the song set the perfect tone to write tight tense action scenes.
And the World Was Gone- Snow Ghosts
This story puts its characters through the wringer. This song struck a chord of loss and longing, that sudden feeling of everything you know yanked away in an instant. The haunting notes of Snow Ghosts helped set the stage for the world falling apart around you.
Hurts Like Hell- Fleurie
Azzy, the MC of Marrow Charm, suffers a great deal of loss throughout the story. This song became 1 or 2 theme songs for her. I say one of two because her character for me is two fold. This is the song that represent her loss while the second selection speaks to her characters hope and perseverance.
King- Lauren Aquilina
This came to be Azzy’s second theme song. A song that also became a bit of a personal victory song. These lyrics were so personal to this character and myself as a writer. I wrote this book during a difficult time in my life and imparted a great deal of my fears and hopes into my main character. They say as authors we often slip pieces of ourselves into our stories. Azzy’s determination against overwhelming odds is what I hoped for myself, what I aspired to have through the worst of times.
Lights Will Guide Me- Fahrenhaidt
A song not only for book 1 but a seed into book 2. The tinkling notes and rich voice speak of finding one’s way home. Book 2 is a very different creature than book 1, centered in a single city rather than a vast wilderness, and delves deep into the politics and history of the world. I am so very excited to share more of Marrow Charm’s world with readers in 2020!
Full Marrow Charm Playlist
And finally, I would like to share with you a free prequel bonus story set in the Marrow Charm world. This story features the mysterious Lord Wallach and younger Safiya, the Witch of the Wood. Click here!
Wow! Kristin really loaded you guys up on free content! Now, don't forget to enter the contest to win free books from me, Kristin, and a ton of other authors. To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is...
Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the GOLD TEAM and you'll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
CONTINUE THE HUNT
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! PJ Hoover!
Make sure you enter to win a free signed book from yours truly and a swag pack. One lucky winner will get their choice of a signed paperback from any of my YA books, plus a sweet supply of swag from all my books!
So here's the skinny. I've been super MIA for the past year. No posts, very few social media shares, and zero new books. I know. I kinda suck. But there's a reason for all of this. Well, really two reasons.
1. Last school year I went back to work, or as I like to think of it "undercover", and worked in the high school cafeteria. Wow, talk about a breeding ground for new story ideas. Anyway, the point of my sojourn into the workforce was so that I could quickly pay off the student loans I've been dragging around since 2002. The good news is that I am officially student debt free. The bad news is that working full time and still keeping up with everything my family needed left me pretty drained and writing was a struggle.
2. I'm currently in the middle of a legal battle with Amazon. Yes, the battle is over money and yes, it has been expensive. I'm not going to go into a lot of details until the whole thing is said and done. For now I'll just say that due to the legal rigmarole I've been very hesitant to spend funds on editing, covers, advertising, etc. Add to that the emotional toll of battling one of the corporate giants of America and there's not a lot left in the tank or the bank. Ha, I rhymed. I'm hysterical.
Anyway, the point of this is to let you know that there is a small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. I'm done with my undercover stint so I'm back to actually writing. Yes, that's new words on new books. Also, I'm cautiously optimistic that my Amazon debacle should be finito by the end of the year (or sooner, please!) and that means I can stop being so miserly with my moolah and get some books out there.
Thank you to all of you who have sent me messages and emails asking if all is okay. I'm sorry I wasn't able to respond to everyone. I would ask for your understanding that I wasn't in a good place for the last year to try to put on a pretty face when it came to my author career.
But now we are moving on to, hopefully, bigger and better things. Tomorrow kicks off the Fall 2019 YASH (YA Scavenger Hunt). If you've participated in a hunt before then you know how fun these are. If this sounds foreign to you, don't worry. Tomorrow's post will explain everything. Just know that there are tons of authors participating and you'll have lots of chances to win gift cards, books and other fabulous prizes. You won't want to miss it.
So with that, I will bid you adieu until mañana!